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Private Independent Day School for Boys 3 - 13 & Girls 3 - 7, Flexi-Boarding for Boys 8 - 13

Worcester Choristers at York Minster - 7th June 2024

When we came back from half term, we knew that it would be a busy few days, what with Form 8 taking Common Entrance exams and other years in the Prep School taking internal exams.

 We knew that there were to be a number of trips for both Prep and Pre-Prep. But we had no idea that on Tuesday morning five inspectors from the Independent Schools Inspectorate would be arriving to spend three days looking at the School in minute detail, a process which, at the best of times, requires a huge degree of focus on the part of the School. The Inspectors worked with great professionalism and their report will arrive with us in about five weeks’ time. As soon as it is ready, I will be sending it to you. Many of you answered the surveys. Those filled in by the parents were particularly positive, so I wanted to thank all of you who took the time to complete them and to be so supportive of the School. I also wanted to take the opportunity to thank the staff of the School who have been magnificent this week; they have worked so hard to be ready for the observed lessons, the scrutinised books and the questions posed to them. I have been so proud of the staff and the School during this process – though receiving inspections are not the way in which you would necessarily choose to spend your time, they do bring people together and everyone supported one another magnificently.

I had a lovely half term, some of which was spent with the Worcester Choristers in York. We travelled up to that magnificent and historical city in two minibuses and stayed at a Youth Hostel that had, at one time, been the home of members of the Rowntree family, the Quakers who had started up the famous chocolate (and fruit pastel) dynasty. We were in York to sing three services in one of the greatest buildings in the world and the largest mediaeval cathedral in the country, York Minster. I was sceptical as to whether the choir, which is used to singing in an intimate chapel, would be able to fill the vast spaces of the Minster with their sound. In fact, they all sang with complete commitment and the singing was hugely impressive. Half term in York was busy and as I walked out to take my place for the service, I noticed a huge queue of people waiting to find a place. After one of the services, when the public had left the building and we had it all to ourselves, we went through to the Chapter House, one of the wonders of England. It is an octagonal room under the most spectacular roof - a roof which seems to radiate with colour like a firework. But as remarkable as that is, the Chapter House’s most extraordinary feature is entirely invisible - its acoustic. The boys stood in the middle of the building and sang from memory, Edward Elgar’s “Ave Verum.” The noise was dramatic and went straight to the heart. As they opened their mouths and heard the sound which they had suddenly produced, the boys’ mouths gaped in amazement.

We have written to you today about Sports Day. I am very much looking forward to seeing you all there next Saturday. The boys and girls are very excited. Last year, we introduced some parent and family races – these were probably the most competitively contested of all the races. I am certain that the weather will be good – it has been every year I have attended, except for one where, following a pleasant start, the clouds gathered and then the lightning struck. It was not a good moment to be on an exposed field with 150 children and their families. Something tells me it will be pleasant this year! I was showing one of the Inspectors around the School – as we came round a corner one boy who was passing us leapt backwards. At first the Inspector looked slightly shocked and hurt that someone would recoil so abruptly form their presence. But all was revealed in an instant. The boy grabbed the door and held it open as we passed through. No wonder the Inspectors commented upon how polite our boys are.